June ,12 2016
My Love Affair with Poetry

flower gardenConceptualising my love affair with poetry is dreadfully difficult. While the expression is one of deep, personal feeling, the twisted and unlimited anger I pose towards the subject often cages my true desire to reveal both outstanding love and hatred for the art form. How passionately I feel pulled along either path! The intense back and forth has followed me around since I was in grade school. My interest in poetry grew stronger when I was in high school and the culminating assignment for my English course was to examine three poems of similar theme and style and present them to the class. Not a complicated or unreasonable proposition brought to our attention by my teacher. William Blake was a natural choice. Life, death, destiny, fate, goodness, darkness, God, the Devil, all strong themes I connect with more fiercely than a flowered expression of unrequited love. The Tyger and The Lamb by Blake easily became my first two selections. Bound together, Blake wrote them with the intention of their polarization. The third was not so obvious to me. Patrick Kavanagh’s poem Innocence drifted into my life by chance at this time. The struggle between choosing the right path for one’s life and realizing that even if an individual is fearful of the consequences of choosing light or darkness, not selecting either path is not living. Paired with Blake’s two poems, my presentation was constructed and I was left with a solid month to collect the evidence of my theme examination. One month was overkill. The agony to read each line until the words tattooed my self-conscious where, to this day, they spring up at the most inopportune moment. Come presentation day, I was awarded a handsome mark but my fellow classmates and I were challenged on our poetic interpretations. Who can say what the poet imagined if he cannot speak for himself? My teacher fierily told us all that poetry is not interpretable and was pointless to take as a legitimate form of expression. The whole project was a test. A test I regarded as a complete an utter disregard for the foundations of my, up until that point, love of poetry. Poetry could capture the essence of any themes regardless of poetic intention. The reader’s journey through each line was to discover that meaning on their own. To say not a single word of any poem could be taken validly as having any true literary meaning, I could not accept such a conclusion. My poetic expression was deflated. I was defeated. Distraught. What meaning was there to be had if the embellished thoughts of poets and poetesses were not meant to be more than overly descriptive passages? I drifted away from any thoughts of putting pen to paper and pouring out the emotions of those who use me as a mouthpiece for their own creative license. Those people who don’t exist on our plane of existence, but instead in the imaginations of people like me. Defeat turned to dislike and dislike to hatred. Embroidered poems lost all meaning to me. I mocked the expression as false, overdramatic, and intrinsically invaluable. A form of writing I once looked upon with admiration and respect was crumbling before me like the erosion of a sandcastle in the crashing waves of the sea. I stopped reading poetry and stopped writing it. Senior year in high school made me come face to face with my multifaceted friend. I took a creative writing course as an elective and was tasked with writing ten poems of different styles. What appeared to be horrible news had a lasting effect on me. I sat at my desk trying to find the strength to write down some words. It would be beneficially for me to add that I often felt that rhyming felt childish, and with those thoughts, I was combating two problems in the face of this new assignment. It was not long until my teacher realized my negative feelings towards poetry. I explained where my disillusionment with poetic creativity came from and she encouraged me to try taking another stab at it. Reluctantly, I did. The first poem I wrote after all that time off was horrible. I know it. It was forced, false and a reflection of everything I had grown to hate. So what to do? I headed to the Internet to read through some old poems I once loved and found myself struck with My Papa’s Waltz by Theodore Roethke. The dark yet, sublimely uplifting poem was the style I remembered adoring. Suddenly, my heart was afire. Although, not with hatred, instead, with pain. How could I have turned my back on poetry? On the poets and poetesses who dared to express themselves? Immediately, I sat down and wrote all ten poems required of me. Sonnets, ballads, haikus, villanelles, I brought all my old friends back to life. The tumultuous relationship poetry and I have endured continues to this day. Shortly after high school ended, my time spent writing poetry increased. I spent more time pushing and testing myself when it came to different poetic forms. I went on to have a series of my poems published and praised. A great achievement I look back on fondly. I would have never believed I would have poems published back in that life altering English course. All in all, my love affair with poetry continues to coast along a rollercoaster track. I can say wholeheartedly that in the past few weeks, my desire to craft more poems has grown at a rapid rate. Inevitably, it is clear to me that if anything will come out of the passionate expression of creativity I undergo, my adoration and detestation will continue onward in a spiral of emotion. Truly, it is the best mix to write, at least, I believe so. My deep appreciation for fellow poets and poetesses, I can say is repaired thankfully. I stop to wonder if poetry and I would have ever drifted apart so if my teacher had not discouraged our class from thinking it a grand form of artistic expression? I am not sure. Regardless, poetry and I are together once again. With time, I am sure we can become more stable and maybe even decide which path I’ll need to take once and for all. Right now, I choose love. xo Novellette

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